Floating in a Sea of Tissue
by Dr Nick Drengenberg
Copyright © 2012 Nick Drengenberg, all rights reserved world-wide
Images in this article are public domain, some are courtesy of NASA and some under WikiCommons
Other articles by Nick Drengenberg — Confessions of a Do-er
| Bearable Lightness of Being | I Wouldn't Start From Here
are many scientific ideas that don't make inroads into everyday life. Gravity isn't one of them. Just
about everybody has not only some idea of what gravity is, this idea is then deeply embedded in the
way they carry out even the most basic everyday tasks. The spacewalking astronaut in the picture, and
many other images and videos we all see of astronauts have also profoundly shaped the way we think about
and experience gravity, as have stories such as the apple apparently falling on Isaac Newton's head.
What goes up must go down, etc. Gravity as a constant presence weighing us and everything else down,
dragging us inexorably towards the planet no matter what we do, unless we're lucky enough to become
an astronaut, but even then we still have to come 'down to Earth' again, eventually.
And yet gravity is maybe misunderstood. And the consequences of this misunderstanding
for our lives can be profound.
Firstly, gravity is mostly thought of as a force. As an invisible agent
somehow causing objects, including human beings, to be pulled towards other objects. So if we drop a
ball and it falls to the ground, it's because the gravitational force on the ball pulled it towards
the ground. Similarly we stay on the ground and don't fly off into the air because gravity is pulling
us constantly towards the Earth beneath our feet. We tire when standing or sitting because gravity is
constantly trying to pull us towards the ground, and so on. Newton conceived of gravity as a force,
and Newton's theories about gravity are still far and away the most common reference points used to
explain and describe how objects behave when influenced by gravity.
What's less well understood is that Newton conceived of gravity as a mutual
attraction between objects. There isn't an object and gravity, and one acts upon the other. Gravity
emerges from two or more objects interacting. Any two objects, including you, have some gravitational
force between them, that TV set on the other side of the room is gravitationally attracted to you, and
you to it. And there's gravity between you and every other object in the room, and every other object
in the entre universe for that matter.
What this means is that gravity isn't a force pulling on an object. It's a relationship
of attraction between objects. The 'pull' of gravity is completely equal and mutual; the amount
of pull the TV set exerts on me because of gravity is the same as the amount of pull it experiences
from me, because of gravity.
It's this mutuality or relationship that is most often missed in everyday ideas about
gravity. And this is likely because our everyday experience tends to be dominated by the fact that we're
stuck next to a massive (compared to us) ball of rock called Earth. We are Earth-bound, if you like.
Because the mass of the Earth is so much greater than our bodies and the everyday objects we use, our
experience of this mutual attraction between ourselves and the Earth is one where Earth seems the dominant
partner. In the daily dance on its surface it always tends to lead, we're always the support act to
the main attraction. Our mutual attraction is, like all gravitational attraction, exactly the same on
both objects - the amount of 'pull' the Earth exerts on us is exactly the same as the amount of pull
we exert on it. But the Earth is huge, compared to us, so that 'force' between us moves it hardly at
all, whereas we and the objects we use and see are obviously pulled towards it. Things 'fall to the
ground'. An analogy would be trying to push a pram and a truck using the same force for each — the pram
might move nicely, but the truck hardly at all.
back up to that astronaut spacewalking. If you can get far enough way from the Earth, so that you're
no longer Earth-bound, the 'pull' between you and the Earth is still equal on both, but there’s no noticeable
movement of the astronaut towards the Earth or of it towards the astronaut, so the astronaut is 'floating'
in space. Something many of us dream of doing, such as when we watch astronauts in space stations tumbling
and floating, effortlessly hovering.
However this is where we start to be led astray by treating gravity as some force
applied to objects, as two separate things (gravity + object). Because that mutual relationship that
is gravity is there even when we're at the Earth's surface. It's always the same relationship,
no matter how close to another object you are. It may vary in strength, but that mutual attraction is
always there. When you stand on the ground, for example, you and the Earth continue to be attracted
to each other, it's just that neither of you can now move because you're touching. But the attraction
is still there. So where does it go? Well, the Earth keeps pulling you towards itself, so it pulls you
into the ground. Similarly, you keep pulling the Earth towards you, so the Earth is being pulled up
into you. The ground beneath your feet is usually solid enough that you can't fall into it, and similarly
your body is solid enough that the ground beneath you doesn't invade your body. So in reality you just
stay put, 'stuck' to the ground by that mutual pulling. But it's a two-way mutual balance
of forces that keeps you in that spot, it's not (as we generally tend to think) us that
has simply fallen onto some static lump of stuff (the Earth) and just can't fall any more because we've
hit the ground.
So what we usually think of as something, us or some object, being 'at rest' or not
moving is actually an equilibrium of forces at work, it isn't some lump of unmoving stuff stopping another
lump of moving stuff. If you push on a wall and the wall doesn't fall over, it's because the wall is
pushing right back on you, with exactly the same force as you're pushing on it. Forces always act in
pairs; there is no such thing as a single force acting on something.
Everything is Floating
It can be easier to come to terms with this by again shifting yourself away from
our usual Earth-bound state. That big lump of rock beneath us has skewed how we tend to think about
these things, we've come to know gravity in a situation that is quite specific — one tiny body next
to one huge body. So we're generally a bit huge-body centric in how we think about it. If you could
go on an extended spacewalk, out into the galaxy for a look around, you'd notice straight away that
there is no 'ground', that everything is floating. Yes you'd see (floating) planets and other solid
lumps of things, but if you could watch one of those form you'd see they also start off as a whole collection
of smaller lumps of rock floating around, which then get pulled together by the gravity created by all
these pieces of rock pulling on each other. So our everyday sense that there are solid, unmoving things,
like the ground beneath our feet and houses, walls, mountains, or whatever, is based upon only a limited
view of the universe, distorted by that planet next to us.
In reality, the only solid ground in the universe is relative, it's an effect created
by lots of objects pulling together to create a large object. If another much more massive object again,
like a black hole, were to come near our seemingly solid planet, we would quickly see just how not-solid
and unmoving it is, as it was torn to shreds and pulled towards the black hole. And in fact even without
that sort of disaster we know that the Earth is hurtling around the (much much bigger) sun at the centre
of our solar system, in their mutual gravitational pull-dance, so our Earth is already not as unmoving
and stable as we feel it to be.
Another more fundamental way to look at this is to say that you actually live in
a world of forces, not of matter or stuff + forces. It's the always-changing balance of these forces
that creates the universe as we know it, and even in your everyday life you're not some lump of inert
stuff being buffeted by the forces around you. Your entire existence, including the matter that makes
up things like your body, is a delicate equilibrium of forces.
You are ALWAYS Floating
are some astronauts again, this time training for weightlessness in space inside a plane. The plane
flies in a special way so that the astronauts experience this weightless state — the plane flies in
"free fall". Most of us know what free fall is, it means what it says — something is falling freely.
If you jump from a plane, as parachutists do, then you free fall towards the ground with only the wind
resistance and an eventual opening parachute to stop you (or the ground itself, if the parachute doesn't
When a person or object is in free fall they are "weightless". For a person this
means no experience of what we usually call weight, and thus the astronauts floating around that plane
above. So while those astronauts look as if they're floating or flying, in actual fact they're falling
towards the ground at a rate of knots, and at the same rate of knots as the plane around them - everything
is falling at the same rate, the whole plane + astronauts is in free fall. But you don't need this plane
to experience free fall, if you jump up, the entire time you're off the ground you're in free fall.
You'll get to experience that a lot easier on something like a trampoline, which allows you to be off
the ground for a longer time.
One of the reasons what these astronauts are doing appeals to many people is because
from our earliest Peter Pan-inspired years, many of us share the dream of being weightless. This is
revealing, because it shows that we generally experience our everyday lives as being weighted or ‘heavy’
in some way. On the ground we tend to equate gravity with weight, we feel more or less heavy and feel
that our lives are in large part an endless battle and effort to be upright against this persistent
gravitational pull downwards.
But, and it can be a spectacular but for many, this is wrong. You are
always floating, even on the ground. (Except of course when you might be unbalanced or
accelerating, for example — this is about the basic, simple case of simply being somewhere, stationary.)
As above, you standing on the ground is an equilibrium balance of the Earth pulling on you and you pulling
on the Earth. An equilibrium, meaning that the overall 'force' on you is zero. That's why you don't
move. You aren't weightless on the ground, technically, but what most of us mean by that word isn't
weightlessness anyway, it's floating. We think weight is a combination of a feeling of heaviness, and
of stuff falling rather than floating or flying. But when you stand on the ground, again you're in equilibrium,
which means all the forces on you are balanced out to zero. So you should feel not one tiny bit of heaviness,
because you are literally floating there on the surface of the Earth, your downward forces exactly matched
by upward forces (their 'twin', the mutual gravitational attraction).
might be easier to grasp by thinking about two different types of floating. The astronauts and Peter
Pan encourage us to think of it in the hot air balloon sort of way, of things floating in 'mid-air'.
But boats also float, and this is much more how we float at the surface of the Earth. A boat floats
using buoyancy, which is basically the water it sits in balancing exactly its own weight downwards with
a push upwards. Our bodies similarly have their weight balanced exactly by the ground pushing back up
onto them, as described above (the mutual pull of you and the Earth).
Resetting your Baseline
If you were that astronaut floating in space in the first picture, and were able
in some way to gradually make your way back to Earth, at every point of that journey, including when
your feet touch the ground, you are floating. You don't go from floating in space and in free fall to
suddenly having a lumbering heaviness the second you touch the ground. You're just floating, the whole
When people begin to understand the nature of gravity and its impact on their bodies,
often they try to implement changes from within the old framework of “the Earth is pulling me down”.
So they take all the heaviness they’ve been feeling most of their lives and try to relieve themselves
of it in a variety of different ways. But they don’t change the framework itself. So they’re still doing
this or that thing with their ‘body’ to try to relieve it of all this heaviness.
But gravity is, again, a relationship between bodies. So whatever your body
is doing gravitationally is not something you ‘do’, in any way. It just is. Just as a boat doesn’t need
to do anything to float except sit in the water, your body floats all by itself, because of its relationship
to other objects. It’s a phenomenon that is ‘outside’ you, created by the relationship between you and
the planet. This is important because unless you change the underlying framework, you’ll always
end up back in your body trying to do this or do that, to release tension or feel this or that, to try
to achieve something, like floating. Your body and its position ‘in space’ (see below) is controlled
by its relationship with all of the other objects around it, it’s independent of you.
So you need to change your baseline, your basic underlying sense of you in space.
The baseline is that spacewalking astronaut. Effortlessly floating. You need to practice feeling your
body not as weighted in any way, but as literally floating there. For me this is easiest if I make my
default being that astronaut, floating in the universe, and occasionally coming to a planet and feeling
it come up underneath me. Rather than the default being that (Earth-centred) heaviness which I somehow
need to do something to escape. This isn’t some analogy either, this is the reality — you are always
in the wider space of the universe, floating like the spacewalker, it’s just that most of your time
you’re next to this planet. But as above, if you could be a universal traveller like that and occasionally
a planet came up underneath you, still at no time on the descent to that planet or when you arrive at
the surface do you have any ‘weight’ or heaviness — you are always like the spacewalker. Floating.
Being close to another object doesn’t change a single thing about the balance of forces on you, they’re
still zero, whether you’re somewhere between the Earth and the moon or on the surface of either. That
proximity doesn’t add weight to you in the way we usually mean that term (heaviness).
Your baseline or framework, your most basic ways of thinking about and feeling and
experiencing your body and the world around you, can be radically different when you understand gravity.
You shift from feeling yourself as a separate body in a wider world, weighted down by some force that
you, inside that body, fight against with all sorts of straining and effort, to your body suspended
effortlessly ‘in space’ by its relationships with other objects around it. It takes the locus of
feeling and thought and experience outside your body and mind and into the world around you, of which
your body is just a part.
This won’t necessarily be easy, because most of us are deeply habituated to feeling
our bodies and selves as self-contained, including a sense that our being upright or moving is something
we do, with strain or effort. But actually the reality, that we’re simply floating there and moving
because of our interactions with the objects around us, is there to feel any time you like. Some go
halfway towards this by still working with the person as if it’s an independent entity, but with less
fiddling and control and strain. And that can have large effects, relieving much of the effort and heaviness.
But only understanding and feeling yourself as in constant ongoing relationship with the world around
you can take you back out into the world fully, to experience the richness that’s there (just as I’m
sure every astronaut who spacewalks does — I’m sure the majority of their time is one of wonder, as
they take in the scene around them).
It’s a peculiar experience, shifting what you may have experienced as you out into
the world, so that your body is effortlessly suspended and moved by its relationship with the objects
around it. Ask that spacewalking astronaut to move and you’ll see just how true the necessity of that
relationship is — they can’t move at all unless they have some relationship with an object, such as
throwing a spanner in the opposite direction to where they want to go. Wouldn’t matter how much they
thrashed about within their own bodies internally, they aren’t going anywhere unless they come into
relationship with something outside them.
It hadn't occurred to most scientists or people in general that we have no 'weight'
because they had misunderstood how our bodies are constructed. As David Gorman has for years pointed
out, and which is now coming into the mainstream of biology through the work of people like Donald Ingber,
our bodies use one fundamental principle to operate - tensegrity. (I've spoken about this as well, in
my earlier "Bearable Lightness of Being" article, on David's
site.) Without revisiting tensegrity in detail here, the essential insight from tensegrity work is that
our entire body, at every scale, from genes to arms and legs, is organised and constructed by a balance
of compression and tension forces. (And as the work of Ingber shows, and returning briefly to my description
of reality itself being an interplay of forces, the very 'stuff' out of which we're made, right down
to the chemicals in our bodies, is shaped by this interplay of forces - if you change the forces, you
get different biochemistry.)
For the purposes of this article, what's important is that this elastic balance of
compression and tension (that balance is elasticity) manifests itself in our elastic bodies. As the
ground reaction force makes its way up into our bodies - the mutual us-Earth pulling again - it spreads
out this elastic body so that it is literally suspended, or floating, in space. It's as if we're boats,
but we've internalised all the water and we float in our tissues. If we go back to the start and the
spacewalking astronaut, we don't need to rocket into orbit to experience floating, we can do that every
single day, if we learn to use our bodies in the way they evolved to be used. Scientists have known
for centuries that reaction forces balance the effects of gravity on objects, but they assumed that
the human body, unlike a nice symmetrical block, is not naturally balanced and therefore does not effortlessly
just sit there — that we always need to do something to be upright. But tensegrity is what allows the
human body to be perfectly balanced, distributing that reaction force evenly across and through your
David Gorman has made an art of explaining and teaching how we manage to go from
being the effortless, floating beings we evolved as, to the slumped, slouched, heavy and hunched-over
victims of what we think is gravity, and I'd recommend this site and the various LM publications and
workshops as one way to learn that for yourself. However you can also try this by simply standing or
sitting somewhere, or during any activity, and noticing whether to just be there you need to use any
effort at all. You may be used to trying or straining in some way to do that, but see what happens if
you don't. I bet you'll find that hey presto, you're actually floating - effortlessly just there.
Split in Two
So this heaviness we often feel, that we attribute to gravity, is nothing of the
sort. It's our muscles and connective tissues and other parts of our body twisting and stretching and
collapsing on and against each other. If you go to stand from a chair and it feels like you're hauling
a lot of weight up into the air, and you feel that's unavoidable because you have to get that 'weight'
of you up against gravity - what's actually happened is that you are indeed pulling or hauling, but
not against gravity. You're pulling on some parts of you with other parts of you (normally because you're
trying to get up over your feet while you're still on the chair). Or even just sitting on the chair
or standing on the ground for a long time, you may feel your 'weight' and it might tire you out, trying
to 'hold it up'. But that's not gravity weighing you down, it's your body out of balance so that some
parts are pulling down or collapsing on other parts. When you're balanced, again you're in a perfect
equilibrium of forces, and the resulting force on you is zero. Completely 'weightless', or floating.
(It's simple to tell if you're balanced. Balance is not something you have to do,
you're already floating. If you allow yourself to float, and you start to move one way or the other
without meaning to, you'll know you're off-balance - you'll feel your body start to move in one way
or the other. Also, and see later, if you’re determined to experience gravity as some relentless force
pulling you down, then you’ll turn off all your muscles and that will be what tends to happen!)
What's interesting is how much this traditional linking of gravity with the heaviness
we feel is also tied up with the feeling we have that we're divided creatures. That we have
a mind and a body, and the mind somehow controls the body. When we feel that heaviness we immediately
feel parts of ourselves as separate things, that we have to move - our torso feels heavy slumped in
a chair and up in our 'minds' we implicitly think "OK, better haul that thing up". Or we feel we have
to move our legs and bodies to walk or run, again directed from up in our heads. So it's our mind AND
our body, with the first acting on the second as a separate thing. On the other hand if you just let
yourself float, there's so sense of you having any parts at all. You will have already experienced that
underwater in a swimming pool, for example, how the usual heaviness you feel on the ground disappears
and how your whole body suddenly feels like one connected thing. This is likely also partly why submerging
yourself in a spa or bath is 'relaxing', because you stop splitting yourself into two and just effortlessly
This is consistent with replacing the idea of gravity as some separate force acting
on bodies, with it being a relationship between bodies. There's no separation between gravity and the
bodies it acts upon, just as there is no separation between mind and body. If you let yourself float,
you'll therefore also find that all of the strain that comes from separating gravity from bodies will
also disappear from you. No more muscle pain, no more weight or sense of heaviness (not one tiny bit),
and as a result most of the time you'll be just engaged in what you're doing, and not down in your body
trying to fiddle with bits that feel heavy or under strain. Your mind-body separation will largely disappear.
Your being and moving will be the result of your relationships with the objects around you, not something
you do internally.
Getting rid of 'Space'
This fuller understanding of gravity also has other dimensions. And in science it
did as well, as the Einsteinian understanding of gravity updated the Newtonian ideas used for hundreds
of years. A lot of that update revolved around what is meant by the concepts of time and space. I'll
focus on space here.
Philosophers realised a long time ago, and scientists since at least the time of
Einstein have as well, that it's very difficult to make any sense of the basic expression "in space".
We all use the idea of space in that way, all the time, and most of the time it works just fine. But
it doesn't really add up when you look at it a bit more closely, and the problem revolves around the
word "in". Maybe the easiest way to see the problem is to ask what it would mean to not be in space
- to be 'outside' space? It seems simple to say that you have things, and then the space they sit inside,
but what is that space separate to the things themselves? Can you see it, or touch it?
Aren't things just things, and the idea of space is an abstract framework we add
to those things, after the fact? In a nutshell, yes. Try to define space without actually talking about
any of the objects that are supposedly 'in' it, or the measuring instruments like rulers you're using
to define the space. It can't be done in any sort of meaningful way, as Einstein realised.
You might wonder why this isn't just splitting hairs, and what possible relevance
it might have to anything. But much of how we experience the world is tied up in this idea. And in the
context of this article, much of that idea of gravity being a separate force that pulls things down
is linked to the idea of being 'in space'. If we think for example of how gravity isn't a force separate
to things or objects, but is a property of the relationship between objects, then we shift from the
idea of some object being in space, acted upon by gravity, to the idea of there just being objects,
with various relationships.
A practical example might make this a bit clearer. Movement is another idea that
is common, we all have an understanding of what we think movement is. These ideas are often very closely
linked with the 'in space' idea - we tend to think that objects move 'in space'. So you have objects
or things, and then space, and the objects/things can move through space. But as above, what then is
'space'? Can you see it, touch it, smell it? It's a very abstract idea when you step back and look.
If I walk across this room, yes you could say I am walking in the space of the room, but try to explain
what that is separate to the room itself. To define it you have to keep referring back to the specific
character of the room itself - a table here, a chair 3 metres away, its walls and floor and ceiling,
and so on.
famous paradoxes illustrate this close relationship between movement and the idea of space nicely. Take
his example of an arrow, where he notes that after firing it, at any given point of time in its flight
it is in just one place. To move it must somehow get from each place on its path to the next place on
its path. But how can it, if in each moment it's just in one place? How can it ever get from one point
to another? It would have to be both in a place at each moment and moving to the next point in each
moment. So not moving and moving, at the same time.
What Zeno’s examples show is that the idea of movement itself is not straightforward.
When Einstein was recasting scientific thought movement was central to his thinking, because he realised
that many of our most basic ideas, such as those about space and time, break down when movement is added
to the mix. He famously went on to address these difficulties with his theories of relativity. However
to this day these paradoxes are not always thought of as genuinely solved.
One less common way to consider these paradoxes is to ask why something called movement
was abstracted from an entire context in the first place. Take Einstein’s famous example of a train
moving past an embankment, and how the movement of objects seems so different depending on whether you’re
observing from the train or the embankment. Einstein reconciled these discrepancies in a way that flabbergasted
the scientific community — he said there were multiple spaces and times, that the person in the train
and the person on the embankment had their own specific time and space. There was no single ‘time’ and
‘space’. Leading to all sorts of other fascinating phenomena, such as time and space being stretched
or compressed according to the speed of movement, etc.
However putting to one side the scientific theory of movement, what might be different
if we don’t look at that whole scene as train + person + embankment + movement? What if we didn’t abstract
this thing called ‘movement’ out of that whole scene in the first place? Because what’s happening when
that train runs past the embankment is a whole series of events, at each ‘moment’, and saying that each
of those is ‘in time’ and ‘in space’ is a bit of an abstraction. If you described it more like a novelist
you might notice everything else that is happening as that train passes, how this entire event is an
unfolding of a particular story. That train is heading somewhere for a reason, the person on the bank
is there for a reason, each moment the train is passing a whole range of different things are happening
in that scene, etc. What can abstractly be described as a “train passing a man on an embankment” is
actually a whole unfolding scene of events.
Another example (and see also the example below of making a cup of tea) might be
useful. If I move from where I am now to leave the room and go somewhere else, I could say “I left
here, and moved to there”. A bit like Einstein’s train, the idea of movement abstracts away most
of the what and why of what’s going on. The context. For example I’m leaving
this room for a reason — I might be going to get lunch. And in every moment of passing ‘through’ the
room something is happening — I may stop to chat to other people, look out a window, turn off a heater,
and so on. A whole series of full events.
Space and Gravity
To bring this back to gravity and our experiences with it, and how this relates to
space, take the example of you standing or sitting. In a similar vein to Zeno's arrow, every single
tiny part of you can only be in one place, every moment. So your eyes are in a certain place, your legs
in another, your torso another, in any given moment. If you then examine the times you feel heavy, like
gravity is weighing you down, you'll realise that the 'you' who is feeling that weight isn't anywhere.
It's that illusion we sometimes call our 'mind', shrunk up to a nothing place that doesn't correspond
with anywhere in the world. That you has withdrawn from your physical body and the world, to be a separate
'me', feeling weight. The second you re-occupy your body in the world, that separation between you and
your body and the weight you're feeling vanishes.
The you who feels weight is the you who thinks that you can move through space, or
be in space. Space and that you are shared fictions. To move through space you need to separate out
you from what's actually around you, from your surroundings and body. From the context. If you don't
do that, then every moment you are just somewhere, and there is no 'space'. Every moment you
are in your body and in the world, in a particular context, and everything is just effortlessly
there, where it is. I used an example in the Bearable Lightness
of Being" article that was similar, showing how standing from a chair and going to make a cup
of tea in the kitchen can either be experienced as you 'moving' from the chair to the kitchen to make
a cuppa, or as a series of full, complete moments between chair and kitchen where each moment is you
living and being in the world, at that particular point and place in time (now I'm in the lounge room
near the chair and there's a song on the TV, now I'm in the doorway of the lounge room and I can hear
somebody mowing their lawn outside, etc., as opposed to "I walked from the chair to the kitchen", ignoring
most other things along the way). Even just standing from the chair — when people strain to do that,
they’re usually trying to go from somewhere they currently are (the chair) to somewhere they’re not
(standing) instantly, ignoring every moment and context in-between.
Next time you feel that weight you think is gravity, notice where 'you' are. Are
you there where you are, present in your surroundings in a common sense way? Or are you up in your head,
in a no-place, daydreaming or looking out at things and ignoring much of what's around you, and your
body? Floating and just being there, present to your body and what's around you without doing
anything — they're just there — are one and the same thing. When you're engaged in your surroundings
in common sense ways, seeing and hearing and smelling and feeling what's there, you're effortlessly
just there. Or you can even, if you wanted to, just choose to be in your body without noticing much
around you, like when you're in bed falling asleep, or sitting or standing somewhere resting. Then you'll
notice that every part of your body is effortlessly just where it is, no need to strain with one part
to haul up some other part.
And how can it be otherwise? You can’t really do two things at once. You can’t both
be somewhere, paying attention and living the reality of that moment, and at the same time
be inside your body trying to get it to do things like walk or stand up, or whatever. Again next time
you feel heaviness or strain of some kind, just notice if you’ve left the scene, if you’re still simply
engaged with what’s actually happening around you, or instead you’re up in your ‘mind’ thinking, or
trying to get somewhere you’re not, or any other variation of no-place that ignores the actual world
you’re in. Then bring yourself back to the present moment, which the whole time is just there, waiting
to be noticed. It takes no effort to do that, it’s all there, sounds and sights and smells and feelings,
etc. are arriving every moment, without you having to gather them.
Then the strain will go and you’ll be effortlessly floating again. We’re all that
astronaut, floating in space, having an atmosphere doesn’t separate us from ‘space’ in the Star Trek
sense, nor does standing on a planet. The universe is always right here.
There is a small biography of personal details about the
Other articles by Nick Drengenberg — Confessions of a Do-er
| Bearable Lightness of Being | I Wouldn't Start From Here
Copies of many of these articles are available as
downloadable e-books from
Read more articles on the work
by Eillen Sellam, David Gorman and others
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About the Author
Nick Drengenberg trained
and worked as an engineer, before working as a teacher of
high school students for almost 10 years. During this time
he also trained in philosophy, and now works as an
administrator at a University, with active research
interests in a variety of areas, including the
LearningMethods approach. He recently co-authored a
book on learning analytics, which explored how technology and education have not really ever understood each other very well, and what to do about it.